Normally, a player’s first introduction to a team’s fanbase will come via a press conference or a conference call with local media.
Scribes will probe said player on their excitement to be in their digs, pose other questions about the coming season, their role, etc., and then it will be digested and spit out onto whatever journalistic medium is present.
The New Jersey Devils did that with P.K. Subban on Thursday, but they then went a step further to introduce their prized summertime acquisition.
Trotting out a player in front of fans at the team’s arena, using a full drum line to do so while offering up what appeared to be a key to the city (or at least Prudential Center) and a Ric Flair-inspired robe isn’t the norm.
But Subban isn’t a normal player. He’s one of the league’s premier defensemen and one who could make a massive impact on turning the Devils into a legitimate playoff contender.
“I didn’t have to give the opportunity to play in New Jersey any time,” Subban said. “When [Nashville Predators GM] David Poile told me on the phone that I was coming here to play, I almost jumped over the counter I was so excited. I was really excited to come to play here and kind of reestablish myself again with a team of young talent.
“What excites me is the talent in that room.”
New Jersey’s managing partner Josh Harris told the assembled media that talent wins championships and he feels they’ve certainly added that this summer.
“As we’ve said over and over to you guys, our north star here is to build the Devils into a championship contender, and we intend to do that,” Harris said. “This summer certainly with P.K [Subban] and all the other things that have happened with Jack [Hughes] and others like Wayne Simmonds, we’ve made a lot of progress.”
Subban labeled the culture in Jersey as one with a tradition of winning. He also said he couldn’t have imagined the reception he’s gotten, both on Thursday and otherwise.
Devils coach John Hynes said they will lean on Subban’s skill.
“He’s a player we’re going to rely upon to play against the other team’s top lines and we see him playing on the power play and killing penalties,” Hynes said. “Coming into the offseason we felt our defense corps needed someone who could come in and play and help, someone who knows how to manage themselves in situations on the road against tough matchups, someone that can really drive the play for us and P.K. fits the style.”